Ryan Giggs gets Wales job: his greatest moments
Ryan Giggs has been unveiled as the new coach of Wales, taking over a position left vacant following Chris Coleman’s resignation in November.
The Manchester United great has signed a four-year contract, assuming the reins of the side he represented 64 times as a player, scoring 12 goals. The 44-year-old previously coached United for a four-game interim spell in 2013/14, and was Louis van Gaal’s Old Trafford assistant from 2014–16.
As Giggs embarks on this new adventure, UEFA.com reviews some of the most significant milestones of his 23-year playing career which yielded 13 Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two UEFA Champions League crowns, two English League Cups and a UEFA Super Cup.
United 3-1 Hull City
6 May 2014: Premier League
His final season did not go to plan, but Giggs realised another dream by leading United out for the last four games as interim player-manager after Sir Alex Ferguson’s replacement, David Moyes, had made an early exit. This was United’s last home match, and the 40-year-old brought himself on for his 963rd appearance with just over 20 minutes left. His final acts included a shot, a burst down the left wing he had graced for so long at Old Trafford, and a silky reverse pass for the Robin van Persie strike that sealed victory.
United 1-2 Real Madrid
5 March 2013, UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg
Omitted from the squad three days earlier for the Premier League fixture at home to Norwich City, Giggs brought up the 1,000-appearance mark against the then nine-time European Cup winners. His 134th UEFA Champions League outing ended in defeat as the visitors, trailing to a Sergio Ramos own goal, hit back through Luka Modrić and former United favourite Cristiano Ronaldo.
Benfica 1-1 United
14 September 2011, UEFA Champions League group stage
Giggs notched the Red Devils’ first goal of what was ultimately a disappointing 2011/12 European campaign and, in so doing, became the oldest player to score in the UEFA Champions League aged 37 years and 290 days – a record later beaten by Francesco Totti in 2014. With the visitors having shipped an Óscar Cardozo strike, Giggs burst onto a pass from Antonio Valencia and unleashed an unstoppable effort high to Artur’s left.
Voted United’s greatest player of all time
That the former Wales player topped a poll of supporters in the club magazine and on their official website – eclipsing such United luminaries as Eric Cantona, George Best and Sir Bobby Charlton – says everything about Giggs’s standing at Old Trafford. “When I got told I genuinely couldn’t believe it,” said Giggs on learning of the accolade. “There have been so many great players here.”
United 1-1 Chelsea FC (aet, United win 6-5 on pens)
21 May 2008, UEFA Champions League final
Giggs cemented his status as an all-time United great when he replaced another Old Trafford stalwart, Paul Scholes, in the 87th minute of European club football’s biggest match. By joining the fray on the grandest stage of all, the veteran broke Sir Bobby’s club record of 758 appearances – and he was not done there, calmly striking what proved to be the decisive spot kick in the shoot-out before Nicolas Anelka’s effort was saved by Edwin van der Sar.
Juventus 0-3 United
25 February 2003, UEFA Champions League second group stage
While some may argue that his thunderous strike against the same team six years earlier is just as worthy of inclusion, Giggs’s display at the Stadio Delle Alpi gets the nod because of his overall impact on United’s 3-0 win. Having already scored one, Giggs launched himself on a trademark surging run. Faced with Ciro Ferrara and Paolo Montero, he darted inside – taking both out of the game – before sliding a shot across Gianluigi Buffon into the far corner.
Wales 2-1 Italy
16 October 2002, UEFA EURO 2004 qualifying
Although he never got to represent the Dragons at a major international tournament, Giggs enjoyed some highs during his international career – with this famous victory against an Italy side featuring the likes of Fabio Cannavaro, Alessandro Nesta and Alessandro Del Piero right up there. The United man played all 90 minutes and struck the woodwork in the first half, though it was Craig Bellamy who netted both goals for the hosts in front of 72,000 fans in Cardiff.
United 2-1 Arsenal (aet)
14 April 1999, FA Cup semi-final replay
United’s famed treble of 1998/99, and what is widely considered the best goal of Giggs’s illustrious career, would never have happened had Peter Schmeichel not repelled Dennis Bergkamp’s 92nd-minute penalty. Now in extra time, however, and with the score still 1-1, Giggs collected Patrick Vieira’s misplaced pass and embarked on a mazy run towards goal. With Vieira closing fast, Giggs danced beyond the Arsenal man and in between Lee Dixon and Martin Keown before rifling left-footed into the roof of David Seaman’s net.